I’m always on the lookout (or should that be listenout?) for great new music. This morning I’ve found some courtesy of a new album released as a free iPad app. It’s called Tracey Browne Everyone Is Ordinary, and it’s one of those very rare albums where there’s not a single track you want to skip past, just all good songs.
Here’s a little slice of the App Store intro for the app / album:
Well a cursory first listen to Tracey Browne’s debut album could easily invoke comparison to a host of singer-songwriters…
A British Joan Osborne perhaps, a 21st century Kirsty MacColl, a folkier Sarah McLachlan, a poppier Karine Polwart…they’ve all been mentioned, but who knows…and who cares; before that first listen is over you’ll more than likely have reached the conclusion that Tracey Browne transcends comparisons, and with those oft neglected virtues of a fine voice and a great melody, she’s already taking you some place else, some place all her own.
I’ve listened to the whole album twice over now and I agree. I’m no music critic but I think Browne has a great voice, and her songs are really nicely written.
Some of the app’s notable features include:
– Hear the full album
– Live lyrics that play along with each track
– Lyric Sheets
– Exclusive photo album
– Video for ‘Beautiful Days’
– Facebook integration
I really like the backstory of how this album was made and how it came to the iPad:
Tracey is also a qualified and experienced sound engineer, based mostly out of Airtight Studios in Manchester, an established studio which has regularly played host to acts of the calibre of Paul Weller and I Am Kloot.
It was two years ago while playing a series of charity bike rallies across the UK that it was pointed out to Tracey that her own tunes, often personal and intimate, were reducing the bikers in her audience – normally inebriated and waiting for their favourite cover versions – to tears and to impassioned and frequent requests to play ’em again…
So Tracey resolved to make her debut album without further delay. But with funds short or non-existent, how to go about this?
Tracey’s answer was to find, not a studio, but a 17th century church in Northenden, Greater Manchester. Perceiving something magical in the acoustics, she gathered a team of musicians and producer of choice Nigel Stonier – who, having worked with Thea Gilmore, Joan Baez, Martha Wainwright and Clare Teal to name but a few, knows a quality singer songwriter when he hears one.
The songs were recorded in a week, then Tracey took them back to Airtight where she promptly grabbed every free hour of studio time at any hour of the day, having to wait for breaks in the schedules of the more famed artistes using the studio at the time.
Jumping in at any hour of the day or night, Tracey engineered AND performed, literally hitting the record button in the control room then dashing through to the studio area to perform her vocal overdubs.
The result is a stunningly fine album 11 track album in which the emotions of Tracey’s songs take flight on the empathy of the musicians and the combination of spirit and quirk brought to the recording process.
Embracing the digital age, Tracey has also made the entire album available as a free iPhone and iPad App, where you can
hear all 11 tracks, view a video, buy the tracks from iTunes and join Tracey’s fan page on her Facebook site.
How cool is that? Browne writes the songs, sings them, is heavily involved in the production and engineering, and brought the album (free) to iOS.
The app also has quite a nice little photo gallery, as well as a nice set of images that are used as page backgrounds while songs are playing.
I haven’t heard an album I like as much as this one in some time. I’ve already bought a couple of the tracks and if I’ll buy the whole album as soon as I see it’s available.
This iPad app version of the album is very nicely done. The UI is simple, attractive, and easy to use. It mostly stays out of the way so you can just enjoy the music. The app works in the background, so you can switch away to do other things on your iPad and keep listening – and believe me, you’re going to want to keep listening.
There are iTunes links within the app, and here’s more info on where else you can find Browne’s music:
Everyone Is Ordinary is available via Tracey’s website, www.teamtracey.co.uk – as well as the usual online download sites, including iTunes, Amazon and Bandcamp.
Here’s an App Store link for Tracey Browne Everyone Is Ordinary; it’s a free app.